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Re: Unified Cladistics

Holtz pontificated:
> >The differences are in the particulars, not the methold: which particular
> >characters to use, how to code them, etc.
> >Remember that a cladogram does *NOT* describe an organism; it describes an
> >hypothesis of the phylogenetic position of the organism.

Jeffrey Willson wrote:
> Yes, understood. I understood Betty Cunningham's post to be a comment that
> our current cladistic procedures don't seem to produce generally agreed
> upon "objective" ( <= big scare quotes)  cladograms.
> Therefore "something is wrong with our current procedures", or something is
> wrong with our expectations.

well no- I wasn't saying it was wrong. I was saying it wasn't finished
yet.  But as it turns out....
This is what I understood where the general definitions and goals we
were using as science.  Correct me if I'm wrong here.

hypothesis: a tentative assumption made in order to draw out and test
its logical or empirical consequences

empirical: capable of being verified or disproved by observation or
experiment <empirical laws>

science: knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or
the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through
scientific method

scientific method:: principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit
of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the
collection of data through observation and experiment, and the
formulation and testing of hypotheses

I assumed fixing the parts of a cladogram that change with every user
(the character data) by making a global data set of the characters that
describes each species would give us reproduceable results no matter who
tests the shape of the tree (cladistics).  I thought that was the

But now somebody says in plain words that this sort of 'formulation and
testing' is not one of the goals of cladistic?  

I mean, really what's the point?  Now I'm confused.

-Betty Cunningham

Flying Goat Graphics
(Society of Vertebrate Paleontology member)